Flea Markets @ Yoyogi-Koen

A lazy Sunday found me wandering by some flea markets next to the stadium in Yoyogi Koen. Blue tarp's lined the ground filled with used clothes, accessories, kids toys and various other knick knacks. And of course, no trip to the markets is complete without fresh yaki-soba off the tepan.

The Flea markets are held weekly at various locations around Tokyo.
The schedule can be found here (Japanese only, but works well with Google translate).

Tokyo Food - Bills Shichirigahama

I love the speed of Tokyo, yet every so often I feel the need to really slow down, and get away from the crowds and material temptations. Over the time I've spent in Japan I've discovered there is no place I like to go more than Kamakura, just one hour south of Tokyo. Kamakura offers scenic temples, the sea side, and a wonderful village atmosphere. To really get my taste of home however, I head a little further to Shichirigama to visit Bill Granger's venture in to Japanese dining.

Bills, already a staple in the Sydney brunch scene, has been transported to a Japanese sea-side location, where the food and atmosphere does not disappoint. On a Friday, we already have to put our name on a waiting list at 11:45am, as local's and people who have taken the trip from Tokyo vie to get a seat in the cosy restaurant.

Bills is filled with light, and looks over the rolling waves of Shichirigama. One side of the restaurant has couches and booths to relax in, whereas the other side is a slightly more formal restaurant setting. On this occasion, my friend and I were lucky enough to get a seat right by the balcony. As we watched other people's meals come out around us, we ooo'd and ahhh'd contemplating what to put together for our perfect brunch menu. Bills offers all day breakfast (difficult to come across in Japan), burgers, sandwiches and pastas. The dishes are simple, but come as generous servings cooked to perfection with fresh produce.

We finally settled on sweet corn fritters with crispy bacon to start, followed by a squid and chorizo risotto, and topped off with bill's famous ricotta pancakes which are soft, fluffy and perfectly balanced with maple syrup and banana. Everything was delicious, and we sat grinning from ear to ear as we took each bite.

Shichirigahama beach - Not great for swimming but gorgeous view

To get to bills from Tokyo take the Shonan Shinjuku, or Odakyuu line. A good breakdown of transport options is listed here. From Kamakura or Enoshima, take the local rail (Enoden) to Shichirigahama, and you will find Bills in the modern building in front of the station.

Breakfast and lunch reservations are not accepted, so I recommend getting in early.
Bill's website.



Tokyo Food - Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu

Before moving to Japan I heard a few things about the now famous Gonpachi. The first well known point is that Quentin Tarantino was inspired by the restaurant's Edo-style awnings and lanterns; so much that he recreated the space in the film Kill Bill. Secondly, a friend told me it was George Bush's favourite place to eat when he comes to Tokyo!?

Despite this little bit of trivia, Gonpachi has some very strong dishes. The traditional setting of the restaurant contrasts with Gonpachi's food, much of which is Japanese with a modern twist. Tempura avocado and cheese (this was a little strange), super spicy chicken wings, delicious bacon wrapped asparagus kushiyaki, succulent beef, and the beautiful-but-difficult-to-eat prawn dumplings. And that is not to mention the drewl-worthy sesame and chocolate desert, and original Gonpachi cocktails.

Gonpachi has sister restaurants in various locations around Tokyo, including in Shibuya. All restaurants have sections which specialise in kushiyaki (grilled skewers), soba and sushi. I am yet to try the sushi menu, but this is definitely on my to do list.

Gonpachi website (in English)

Asparagus with bacon kushiyaki

Spicy chicken wings

Chocolate pudding with sesame icecream

Gonpachi roof
Photos by Magnus Yang